The Lansing village board moved Monday, September 23, to buy a 23 acre parcel between Northwoods Road and Dart Drive.
The parcel had previously been bought by the NRP Group and Better Housing of Tompkins County, which were planning to put a 65-unit rental townhomes development. It has been the center of some controversy. Opponents of the development project protested that the low/mixed income housing units were redundant in the village of Lansing, and that the need for such housing, as identified by Tompkins county, would be better filled by similar developments in Ithaca. Another point of controversy was road access for emergency vehicles; the village’s stance has been that the access is necessary for safety reasons. However, neighbors of the planned development balked at granting a right-of-way for the development. Further, since the 23 acres includes wetlands, not all of it could be developed and many opponents to the project requested a park be created there, instead.
“That development proposal met with a great deal of concern,” said mayor Don Hartill. “They (NRP and Better Housing) finally abandoned any further work on the parcel last August. I enquired whether there was any interest of the village in purchasing the parcel.” Hartill said the village already has a nice park on the south side of Rt. 13 which is very popular with residents, and that he was thinking was the village could do something similar on a portion of this parcel.
Further, “We do have a road to nowhere on Woodthrush Road. The current owners had negotiated a right-of-way almost to completion but when it was sold (to NRP) they developed a very stiff attitude.” Hartill said he was hoping to explore whether the change in plans for that parcel will affect those owners’ willingness to grant access.
The village’s purchase of the land will preserve open space in Lansing, and also solve the safety access issue, it is hoped.
Hartill further said that funds had already been set aside that would cover the purchase price easily. The board voted to approve the purchase and authorize the mayor to spend $360,000 acquiring the land for the village.